“非常傳統”在美國─美國偶戲概述

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(官網好讀版)

U. S. Non-tradition
An Overview of Puppetry in the U. S.

巴特、洛克波頓(Bart. P. Roccoberton, Jr).
美國康乃狄克大學戲劇系偶戲教授
(Puppet Arts Program, Department of Dramatic Arts,University of Connecticut)
譯者:鄭嘉音
原文載於1999國際偶戲學術研討會論文集

在美國沒有偶戲的傳統。這事實令人害怕卻同時也教人興奮。我們沒有大家耳熟能詳的角色或故事所帶來的一份安全感,也沒有既定的操作技巧或敘事手法。在文化、社會、或宗教活動上,沒有人期待會有偶的出現,更沒有與偶有關的慶典,但因此反而提供了很大的自由空間,讓人們創作新的角色、新的故事或是將舊故事新編。唯一能限制意念表達的,也不過是創作者個人的技巧或想像力極限罷了。反正沒有任何場合是特別為偶而設立的,所有場合也都適合偶的呈現。

在本篇文章中,我希望能向大家介紹美國偶戲的現況,以及它是如何發展至今的。要向大家說明的是,在短短的文章中我不敢奢望能巨細靡遺地談論美國的偶戲,其中必定會有所遺漏。如果各位有興趣多了解這個主題,我很樂意為大家介紹相關書籍。我將就個人觀察之所見所得,與大家分享。

原住民偶戲


在這塊新大陸還未充斥外國探險家及移民者之前,曾有關於面具及偶的原住民傳統。它們的功用主要在祖先崇拜、豐收祈禱、時間儀式(譯註1)、巫術或是疾病治療等。令人惋惜地,這些偶或面具像其它原住民文化一般,不是遭到忽略就是毀壞。如今我們還可以在紐約州的指湖(Finger Lake)看到西尼卡族(Seneca)的面具部落遺跡,或閱讀關於西元1900年以前,亞利桑那州侯匹族(Hopi)在儀式中使用偶的考古報告,而北太平洋沿岸部族目前仍留存有偶和面具的使用。但是由於空間阻隔、人為忽視、及自然消長,原住民傳統對美國今日偶戲的發展,幾乎談不上什麼影響力,直到最近才開始有學者或藝術家們正視這個問題,但要是早知如此也不會有今日的問題了。

歐洲的影響


第一批移民為了逃離歐洲的宗教迫害在十七世紀抵達北美的東北部,尋求實踐信仰的空間。他們過著極清簡的生活且不能容忍其他人有不同的信仰。他們的道德規範不容許跳舞、飲酒、遊戲及娛樂等行為,而強調虔敬、自律和勤勞。這樣的社會自然也容不下偶戲。隨著時間流逝,東部海岸形成荷蘭、英國、德國、法國和西班牙等殖民區。雖然有森林和河流阻隔,但時間、戰爭、政治談判等因素促使殖民區間互相依賴以確保貿易暢通和生存安全。生存的需要幫助了人與人之間由不信任演變為共生共存的關係。隨著合作性的社會型態形成,最初移民的極端信仰也漸趨溫和或是被孤立。

殖民地區的面積不大,交通也不算困難,可以推測到那時偶戲應該已經出現了。但關於偶戲的第一筆文獻資料則出現於1739年一個在紐約的表演宣傳廣告,然而演出的內容為何甚至是否真的有使用偶來演出則沒有確實的資料可考。一般研究者根據所能找到的資料相信,那是由英國的舞蹈家亨利、侯特(Henry Holt) 所演出的一個偶戲小段。

自1700年代初期以後,我們便可以在報紙、文宣品、或歷史文獻中找到關於偶戲家(puppeteer,譯註2)的資料。例如在1776年華盛頓當上美國總統之前,在日記裡曾經提到他花錢欣賞了偶戲表演。在這些記載當中,大多數的表演者是來自英國、法國、德國或義大利的巡迴演出者,其中或許也包括一些新移民,另外也有在當地出生的移民者後代。他們的表演和流傳於歐洲一世紀多以來的演出相類似。有懸絲偶表演(譯註3)、掌中戲演出如英國鼎鼎大名的龐奇先生秀(Mr. Punch)、或是得名自法國、名為“中國影子”的影戲表演(譯註4)。這些表演的主要目的都在於娛樂。即使在為教育觀眾而演出的聖經或歷史故事中,往往也穿插了許多的特殊效果及小把戲以達到娛樂的效果。

隨著人口向西部不斷擴展,巡迴偶戲演員們也跟隨著殖民者移動。1825年,一位偶戲演師的兒子奧伯托、藍諾(Alberto Lano)帶著他的懸絲偶表演“勇猛的奧蘭多”(Orlando Furioso)從義大利移民到美國。奧伯托和他的兒子奧立佛(Oliver)及孫子大衛(David)走遍了這塊土地,在村莊、礦區、或新殖民區裡表演。他們的劇碼包括了聖經故事、龐奇與茱蒂秀(Punch and Judy)、湯姆叔叔小屋、威廉泰爾、浮士德、以及許多其他的故事,以懸絲偶或掌中偶的形式來演出,他們的足跡遠至西部最蠻荒的地帶。但是他們不畏艱難的精神、勇氣及經驗並沒有對這項藝術本身帶來太深遠的影響,因為他們所有的技術和經驗都只傳給自己的家族。藍諾一家三代在美國表演偶戲,但是我們並沒有看到他們的作品影響其他的從業者,他們辛苦的生活也使得其他人對這項行業望之卻步。因此藍諾家族在美國偶戲發展中保有獨特卻相當孤立的地位,他們是能夠在自己所選擇的行業上一展長才的個別範例。

1873年兩位美國娛樂業經紀人約翰、麥當諾(John E. McDonough)及哈特立、恩蕭(Hartly A. Earnshaw),從英國引介約翰、布拉克(John Bullock)的皇家懸絲偶劇團(Royal Marionettes)。因為這個團體的引進,我們終於看到美國的偶戲開始成形。布拉克帶著另一位英國偶戲演師湯馬斯、侯登(Thomas Holden)一起前來,侯登對於美國偶戲的影響力則遲四十年後、遠在他回到英國許久後才開始發揮。其他同布拉克共同表演的包括華特、狄維斯(Walter Deaves),丹尼爾、彌德(Daniel Meader)及哈瑞、米多頓(Harry Middleton)這幾位在美國當地雇用及訓練的演師。

一年下來這個團體無論是在藝術成就或財務上都大獲成功。成功的原因有許多,主要是因為他們的經營手法高明,企劃宣傳詳盡,加上時勢推波助瀾。當時是美國南北戰爭後所謂“重整”的時期,社會紛亂為企業家造就許多機會:農業為主的南方在奴隸制度廢除後重新定位;重工業的北方更新機器設備,生產有利民生的用品;西邊未開闢的疆土因移民拓墾、跨國鐵路興建完成而日漸縮小。社會在轉型重建和發展。皇家偶劇團以專業的能力租下最好的劇場、做廣闊有力的宣傳、以及極富娛樂效果的演出都導致了他們的成功。

他們的表演由三個部份組成:奇幻秀(Fantoccini),其中包括了九個片段的戲法懸絲偶表演(trick string puppet譯註5);說唱綜藝秀(The Minstrel Show),是根據19世紀以來在美國流傳的真人演員說唱綜藝表演,也剛好是日後美式綜藝秀(American Vaudeville)形成的基礎;以及驚奇秀(Extravaganza),講述傳奇故事,在結尾都會設計有壯觀的舞台特效。每個表演段落的唯一目的都在於提供娛樂。

1874年布拉克和經紀人結束合作關係,皇家偶劇團解散,布拉克也回到英國,但是他所帶來的娛樂形式,仍然留在美國。經紀人麥當諾以布拉克的演員為班底改組了另外一個劇團,繼續做三段式的表演。他們充分利用了新建的鐵路,演出遍及西邊的疆界。因為布拉克型態的表演如此受到歡迎,仿效者也紛紛跟進。後來在l900年代初期狄維斯、彌德和米多頓將他們的表演帶到綜藝秀的舞台上,繼續成功地發展他們的娛樂事業。

美國現代偶戲濫觴


在十九世紀末二十世紀初,美國政府開始廣泛地執行勞工及兒童保護法。兒童應該上學而不是在工廠中工作。因此一天中兒童多出了許多時間來從事適合他們的活動,如雨後春筍般為兒童而設計的興趣嗜好方面的刊物及課後活動相應而生。芝加哥小劇場(Chicago Little Theater)認為文化性活動對兒童是必須的,因此派愛倫、凡、佛肯博格,(Ellen Van Volkenberg)到歐洲去考察適合的劇場娛樂形式,她的研究主題便是在偶戲劇場。

美國現代偶戲上的關鍵性時刻是由東尼、薩格(Tony Sarg)所奠定。他出生於瓜地馬拉,雙親為德國外交官。受到祖母的影響,從小他對於幻想世界、機械玩具及藝術特別感興趣。他的父親堅持要他進入軍校,1987年他被指派為德國砲兵軍官。這完全不是他想要的,1905年他搬到英國倫敦,在那兒發揮了他的才華,為倫敦的雜誌畫插畫。在一次工作中,他欣賞到布拉克的前工作夥伴侯登的表演。侯登的表演形式和布拉克相近,使用了許多戲法懸絲偶,也是完全著重在娛樂效果。薩格為此深深著迷,他詢問是否能在後台觀看舞台特效是如何製造出來的。他遭受了拒絕!因為當時西方的偶戲演員、特別是懸絲偶戲演員的獨家祕方是不對外流傳的。一切保持祕密,甚至為防範舞台助理偷學,還在偶戲台及操偶台四周懸掛布幕,這布幕被稱做是“帆布”(The Canvas)。

薩格並不因此而氣餒,在往後許多侯登的表演中,他坐在最前排,將所見以素描畫下,我不禁要想像薩格彎下腰來企圖往上偷窺戲偶的線是如何配置和操作的模樣。有了這些新的資料,加上他一生對機械玩具的研究,薩格開始製做他自己的偶,鑽研偶的結構及操作技巧。之後他開始在社交晚會中表演小片段的偶戲,觀眾的迴響更加深了他的信心。薩格認為偶戲讓他發揮了自己多方面的才華,也贏得人們的尊敬。可惜的是,1914年第一次世界大戰爆發,薩格由於他的德國血統,及前德國砲兵軍官的身分,而為倫敦的社會所排擠。薩格和他的美國妻子於是搬到美國定居,仍舊以插畫維生。

為了在紐約打開知名度,薩格開始出席社交晚會。在結交朋友、建立關係的同時,他偶而也會表演偶戲。世界大戰再一次影響薩格的人生。1916年百老匯的製作人文索、安姆斯(Winthrop Ames),和德國帕帕、史密德(Papa Schmid)的慕尼黑藝術家懸絲偶劇團(Munich Artists Marionette Theatre)簽下聖誕節的演出檔期,但卻因第一次世界大戰的產生的敵對情勢,使得表演團體無法前來。一次晚會中安姆斯看到了薩格的懸絲偶表演,便詢問這位插畫家是否有興趣在百老匯的劇院演出懸絲偶劇。薩格答應了!

薩格完全不知道之前偶戲在美國發展的情況,也沒有企圖向狄維斯、彌德,和米多頓這些可能可以提供幫助的前輩請益,便著手進行這次大型的百老匯製作。運用觀察侯登演出所學習的概念,薩格的第一個製作包含了三個故事,其中穿插了許多可以變換驚奇戲法的角色。為配合百老匯劇院的舞台尺寸,安姆斯建議將戲偶加大到36英吋高,舞台、操偶台及布景則依據這些偶的大小做調整。也因為偶的尺寸,需要24位表演者才能完成表演。

演出後造成轟動,無論大人、小孩都喜歡。但是因為這齣戲的規模、所耗費的材料及人工使得這個製作在財務方面並不成功。薩格和安姆斯將此視之為挑戰決定再合作下一齣戲,希望能帶來盈餘。薩格從先前的錯誤中學習經驗,將偶的尺寸減小。這齣戲以及往後的一些製作,讓薩格成為美國偶戲的帶頭者,也為他達成財務上的目標。

雖然薩格本身不再親自表演,但他還是繼續研究發明戲偶製做及操作的技巧。在他的努力下,集結了許多值得信賴及才華洋溢的藝術家們,共同達成他心目中高水準的娛樂表現。

薩格懸絲偶劇團因為規劃縝密的推廣和宣傳,成為美國最主要的偶劇團長達二十年之久。他們巡迴全美國、從東岸到西岸,總會在聖誕節檔期回到百老匯演出。薩格被尊為“美國現代偶戲之父”,因為他將這門藝術廣泛地介紹給大眾,許多投入這行的藝術家們也將他當做楷模。且偶戲並非他的唯一成就,他的多才多藝,對公關宣傳以及市場行銷方面的獨到眼光還表現在其他方面:他繼續創作插畫、規劃對兒童具親和力的理髮院,為遊行活動設計大型氦氣汽球人物、以及販售根據他的戲中人物所設計的衣服、玩具、戲偶、舞台、遊戲及書籍等。

雖然薩格寫的書在美國並不是唯一教授如何做偶的書,但卻是第一本經由適當推廣的。它的重要性在於提昇了觀眾的程度以及鼓舞了後繼的工作者,對全國性偶戲組織“美國偶戲家協會”(The Puppeteer of America)的成立也有一份貢獻。我也相信本書對偶戲在學院中的教授(也就是我目前所指導的課程)有莫大的幫助。薩格選擇將偶戲背後的祕密透漏給觀眾,他解下“帆布”,邀請記者到後台觀看他如何製造舞台上的幻覺效果。他了解美國人的心理,他知道觀眾如果能明瞭作品背後的巧思和創意,他們會更能夠欣賞他的作品。

偶戲革命


一般說薩格帶來美國的“偶戲復興”,但這名詞暗示了之前偶戲在美國曾經風光、式微而今又復甦,所以我並不贊同這項說法。我個人認為他來的還不只於此,而是“偶戲革命”,他帶領了美國偶戲表演者們將這門藝術發揚光大。許多的創作者都受到布拉克演出形式的影響,但也都各自發展了一片天空、開拓了自己的觀眾群。愛倫、范、佛肯博格則是從劇場界泰斗戈登、克來格(Gordon Craig)的理論得到啟發,她旅行歐洲為芝加哥小劇場蒐集資料,回到美國後和薩格的劇團一起工作。她說服了薩格:偶戲演員應同時為戲偶的操控者及發聲者。在那之前一個偶的角色需要兩位演員:一人操控戲偶,一人為偶代言。(范、佛肯博格同時也為偶戲演員──The Puppeteer 這個名詞的杜撰者,其靈感來自於Muleteer這個字,意為趕騾群的人。)她也幫助薩格重新組織演出,加強戲劇張力。

雷摩、布法諾(Remo Bufano)則是從他在紐約所看到的義大利西西里懸絲偶(Sicilian Marionette 譯註6)表演中汲取他祖先的靈感,(西西里懸絲偶是少數隨著移民傳入美國的民俗偶戲形式之一),但是布法諾並沒有將自己限制在他的傳統文化之中,而探索了許多不同的表現形式。他為比利、羅斯(Billy Rose)的百老匯音樂劇“Jumbo”,製做了一個的由起重系統操作的超大型懸絲偶。在羅伯、愛得蒙、瓊斯(Robert Edmund Jones)製作的史特拉汶斯基歌劇“伊底帕斯王”中,他運用了九英呎高的杖頭偶。保羅、麥法林(Paul McPharlin)向來具有國際性的眼光,他到歐洲參加了UNIMA(世界偶戲協會Union Internationale de la Marionnette)的組織會議。受到多方影響他也實驗了許多不同形式的偶,但是他最大的貢獻是在偶戲的撰史以及組織的提倡。在1937年他召集了全國性的組織──美國偶戲家協會(The Puppeteers of America)。他認為孤立或互相忌妒的結果會限制這項藝術的發展,他渴望偶戲藝術家們能互相認識切磋。瑪琪莉、巴雀德(Marjorie Batchelder,她後來成為麥法林的妻子)也探索了許多不同的偶戲形式,她寫了一本研究杖頭偶戲的書,這種偶戲形式在20世紀之前的美國從未有人使用過。

本世紀的前期,在美國的偶戲復興/革命開展之時,我們發現藝術家們並沒有為任何一種特定的表現形式所限制,他們各自尋求了最適合表達自己意念的工具。不過雖然在本世紀初期偶戲類型在美國逐漸多樣化,主要的表演目的仍是在於娛樂,且以懸絲偶為最主要的演出形式,呈現的手法及可能性則隨著個別工作者的努力而持續發展。

比爾、貝爾德(Bil Baird)、瑪格、羅斯及魯菲斯、羅斯夫婦(Margo& Rufus Rose) 曾在薩格的劇團工作,日後他們成為1960年代及其後美國偶戲史上的領導者。我特別將他們提出倒非因為他們的作品開啟了任何傳統,他們的確是吸引了不少仿效者。我認為他們應被尊為這項藝術的導師,因為他們非常願意和其他的藝術家分享理念以及互相勉勵以精進這門藝術。貝爾德和羅斯夫婦瞭解要發揮美國偶戲藝術的潛力,只有經由不斷地實驗以及在舊有的基礎上創新。

在美國歷史上,政府對藝術的補助是相當罕見的現象。為什麼政府對文化事業漠不關心,其原因值得另闢專題討論而無法在此詳述。歷史上曾有過一段短暫的時期,許多的偶戲工作者都得到了州政府的支助,這段時期是在1930年代經濟大恐慌時代。在羅斯福總統的政策之一“新政法案”(The New Deal)之下,組成了工作促進會(W.P.A.:Work Progress Administration),為1929年股市大崩盤後的失業者提供工作機會及補助。在工作促進會的旗下,聯邦劇場計畫(The Federal Theater Project)則提供了各項藝術工作者許多工作機會。在當時藝術家們被認為是“新好國民”(The Better Good),也就是說他們的成就是對社會有貢獻的,而不只是個人獨享的。壁畫、雕塑、表演藝術等都包括在這項法案的施行範圍。在1939年這個計畫突然終止,令許多藝術家們頓時手足無措。在1960年代全國藝術基金會(NEA:The National Endowment of the Arts)成立,但卻一直要到1980年代,偶戲才從民俗藝術類的項目中獨立出來,列入正式的藝術項目,也就在那時,基金的來源──國會卻將政府對藝術的補助裁減。一直到今天,由於國會對文化的短見,政府對於偶戲藝術的補助是微乎其微。

電視偶戲


電視出現,為偶戲家提供了新的機會。伯爾、提歐斯壯(Burr Tillstrom)、貝爾德及羅斯夫婦是1940年代末在電視上表演的先驅。貝爾德以懸絲偶表演情境喜劇,用有趣的角色及情境來製造娛樂效果,他同時也邀請名人演出他製作的特別節目,如普羅高菲耶夫的“彼得與狼”。提歐斯壯則是受到英國龐奇與茱蒂秀演師波西、普瑞斯(Percy Press) 的啟發,製作“庫克拉、法藍與奧利”(Kukla, Fran, and Ollie),以掌中偶的形式演出,節目中的角色非常討喜,吸引了無論是大人或是兒童觀眾的喜愛。羅斯夫婦在1949年開始,受到器重為頗受歡迎的“好迪嘟迪秀”(Howdy Doody Show)工作,到1960年為止這個節目每天播出。這節目受歡迎的程度促成了三種電視企劃的新方向:兒童節目企劃(Children’s Programming,這是第一個專為兒童設計的全國性節目)、日間節目企劃(Daytime Programming,在這個秀之前電視節目只在晚間剛開始的幾小時播出)、以及商業性節目企劃(Commercial Programming,1948年在電視台投票換紀念別針的遊戲中,戲中主角好迪嘟迪被推選為代表孩子們競選的總統候選人,這時美國有一百萬戶設有電視,但電視台竟然一共收到了五百萬份的回應。節目製作人羅傑、謬兒(Roger Muir),看好這項籌碼,向廠商接觸,商業取向的節目於焉產生)。在最初,所有的節目都是地區性的放送,只為鄰近地域的觀眾而設計。後來獨立電視台開始以網狀聯合經營,也開始有了全國性的電視節目,“好迪嘟迪”也成為美國文化上的一個精神象徵。

雖然偶戲工作者藉由新的媒體--電視演出,但是卻沒有利用到這項媒體的潛力。早期的電視製作,也不過是用一部攝影機,將現場舞台表演記錄下來,還是可以看到偶戲台的框架。1954年吉姆、漢森(Jim Henson)應徵了報紙上所登的某地方電視台徵選偶戲演員的工作。漢森對電視媒體一直非常感興趣,他設計了他覺得最適合電視媒體的偶戲形式──嘴巴可活動的偶(Moving Mouth Puppet),他稱自己的公司為“麻皮偶”(Muppets)。因為試演成功及漢森的努力不懈,很快地他便得到每天兩個五分鐘時段的演出機會。他的作品獨特創新、幽默且吸引人,演出的時段碰巧也非常有利。經由全國性位於首都華盛頓的NBC電視台(National Broadcasting Company)的放送、漢森的晚間演出是在一個極具公信力的全國性新聞節目──航特利/賓克利新聞(The Huntly/Brinkly Show)之前,夜間演出則是在一個非常受夜貓子歡迎的的喜劇節目──今夜秀(The Tonight Show)之前。漢森的創意才華加上天時地利,讓他得以在全國一砲而紅。

像薩格當初一樣,漢森在電視上初試啼聲之時他的作品是史無前例的。他的創作非從傳統而來,也非應需要而生。這些伶牙俐齒的戲偶們在操作技巧方面和歷史悠久的龐奇與茱蒂秀中的鱷魚相類似。漢森對電視媒體做更深入的考量後放棄偶戲台,改以攝影機的鏡頭範圍作為表演的區域。為了掌控演出,他在地板上設立了監看螢幕,讓他和表演者們可以看到與觀眾所看到的一樣的畫面,這項簡單的創舉使得表演者和導演及攝影師之間在創作過程中得以整合,共同調整及營造螢光幕上的畫面。

漢森的才華在全國性的成功中受到肯定,他的節目發展到後來經常邀請到特別來賓上節目做全國性的播出,到1969年時,他開始創作芝麻街(Sesame Street)。這個節目是由兒童電視工作坊(Children’s Television Workshop)製作,成為往後三十年美國兒童節目的典型。電視在此時,還是有一小部份提歐斯壯的“庫克拉、法藍和奧立”的演出,以及其他漢森的模仿者。懸絲偶則已經很少看到了。布拉克以及薩格的影響力日漸薄弱,但偶戲在娛樂方面的效果則更形強調。貝爾德的表演仍舊受到歡迎,但已不是人們目光注意的焦點了。值得一提的是,在1969年人類即將要登陸月球之前,電視台模擬人類在月球上行走的狀況是請貝爾德以懸絲偶來表演的。

創新與教育


在1960年代舞台偶戲表演仍舊是以懸絲偶為主,但當電視逐漸成為大眾的主要娛樂媒介之時,舞台演出則深受其害。許多韓森和提歐斯壯的仿效者也在他們的現場表演中加入電視偶形式的表演,希望藉著電視的餘威能挽回一些頹勢。另外兩項創舉則適時豐富了美國的偶戲表現。一是麵包傀儡劇團(Bread and Puppet Theater)在德裔移民彼得舒曼(Peter Schumann)的領導下成立了。從東歐的傳統中汲取靈感,舒曼的團體很快地便放棄了神話故事的講述而轉向對美國參與越戰的抗議。使用了具有樸拙之美及象徵意義的超大型偶,他們轉戰到街頭吸引了人們及新聞記者的注意。麵包傀儡劇團以諷喻性的演出企圖改變社會現況。在舒曼熱情執著的努力下,為美國偶戲找到了能夠表達強力自我覺醒及聲音的潛力。他有話要說──而且是語重心長的。

1960年代的第二項創舉是兩個偶戲藝術教育課程開辦了。一是在加州大學洛杉磯分校(UCLA:University of California in Los Angeles)由梅爾、海爾斯丁(Mel Helstein)指導,另一個則是在康乃狄克大學(University of Connecticut)由法蘭克、巴勒(Frank Ballard)指導。在這之前美國的偶戲工作者只能從嘗試和錯誤中自我學習,或是加入劇團當學徒。學院教育的目的是使這項藝術可以經由研究、實驗、訓練來培養具專業知識素養的工作者。以捷克布拉格的學院偶戲課程理念為藍本,他們將專業的訓練課程融合到大學的體制之下。學生們必須修習表演、聲音、導演、舞台設計、服裝設計、燈光設計、戲劇史以及偶戲以獲得正規的學位。並經由大型的學期製作,實踐杖頭偶、影偶、面具、掌中偶、懸絲偶等課堂中學得的技巧。我在1970 年代是巴勒教授指導下的學生之一。

1980年代中期海爾斯丁教授退休,UCLA 的偶戲課程因為校方缺乏遠見而告終止。相似的命運也即將降臨到康大,巴勒教授也即將退休。不只是校友,包括許多人如瑪格、貝爾德、提歐斯壯、德國的亞伯特、羅瑟(Albrecht Roser)以及漢森都詢問校方對偶戲課程的未來做何打算。但校方卻規避這個問題,因為他們根本不了解這個課程到底為何設立。這種態度也反應了一般美國大眾對於偶戲藝術的誤解,由於偶戲在兒童娛樂事業的成功,尤其是在電視媒體方面,讓人們誤解這並不是值得在大學中傳授的項目。

以專業工作者的觀點來看,正規教育的價值是無庸置疑的。偶戲界帶頭的藝術家們體認到大學課程教育下的傑出成果,紛紛表達他們的關心。他們希望能對偶戲教育的未來有所掌控,因此在1984年於尤金歐尼爾劇場中心(Eugene O’Neill Theater Center)展開會議。尤金歐尼爾劇場中心主要是提供給美國劇場界一個發展的空間,舉辦中的計畫包括全國劇作家會議(The National Playwright Conference),全國劇評家協會(The National Critics Institute),全國音樂劇場會議(The National Music Theater Conference),全國劇場協會(The National Theater Institute),創造性藝術教育(Creative Arts in Education)。美國聾人劇場(The National Theater of the Deaf)也是由此中心發展出來的。在世界上,尤金歐尼爾中心被公認為“美國劇場之心跳”。在瑪格、貝爾德、提歐斯壯、亞伯特羅瑟及漢森的支持下,新的偶戲教育課程IPPA (專業偶戲藝術學苑The Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts)誕生了,在與會者的推派下,我很榮幸地接下了總監的職務。

懷抱著康乃狄克大學偶戲課程能生存下去的希望,IPPA的目的是希望建立一個能和康大的學院課程並行的工作坊,並為UCLA 及康大陷入危機中的偶戲教育提供一張安全網。六年下來IPPA 一直為偶戲藝術服務,它的宗旨包括了教育及吸引社會大眾、訓練學生以及為專業偶戲工作者提供服務,也舉辦了許多表演,研習、展覽活動。專業的師資有來自美國、加拿大、歐洲、以及亞洲的藝術家,學生們來自於美國、加拿大、南美洲、以及中東。專業偶戲家得地利之便,同時也接觸尤金歐尼爾中心舉辦的其他劇場活動,使所學更形豐富。可惜的是,IPPA的經費來源必須要依靠研究基金、捐贈、以及一些收入來維持,但這時剛好是國會刪減藝術預算的時期。歸因於雷根總統對藝術基金及藝術的短視近見,國會刪減了全國藝術基金會的預算,雷根隨後宣稱工業界以及企業界應當負起藝術贊助者的責任,隔年雷根總統則實施公司行業贊助藝術活動可減免稅額。就在IPPA 的藝術成就日漸茁壯之時,它的財源也日漸減少。在1989 年,這個計畫終於在宣告“藝術成就斐然,財務狀況槁枯”中結束。

漢森的妻子也是他的創意工作夥伴珍、漢森(Jane Henson)了解到尤金歐尼爾中心偶戲藝術課程的重要性,在她的支持之下,“全國偶戲大會”(The National Puppetry Conference)從IPPA的死灰中復燃。這個活動每年舉辦,邀請偶戲界最精英的藝術家和從世界各地來的年輕偶戲工作者一起實驗新的偶戲創作。在藝術總監理察、特門尼(Richard Termine)的指導之下,1999年的六月將邁入第九屆的舉辦。

1989年巴勒教授退休,康大校方宣布停止課程。反對的聲浪及信件從地方、全國、以至全世界各角落排山倒海而來,指責校方“你們不能結束這個課程,你們不懂得珍惜你們所擁有的。”在半信半疑中,校方終於恢復偶戲的課程,我也被邀請擔任這個課程的指導教授。目前我們有來自美國、哥倫比亞、北京及台北等28位學生,這個課程提供了藝術學士、碩士、以及藝術碩士三項學位。

當代偶戲發展


到了1970年代漢森的麻皮偶們更受歡迎了,他們另外製作了一個新潮的綜藝娛樂節目“麻皮秀”(The Muppet Show譯註7),觀眾的對象包括了成人和兒童。他們鮮明獨特的角色、吸引人的表演、出人意表的情節、以及簡單強烈的設計吸引了許多年輕的藝術工作者。雖然我的第一個偶是為了實踐我對布雷希特劇場理念的興趣而做,但我必須承認,我的第二個偶便是模仿漢森的麻皮偶而製作。我並不孤單,麻皮偶的模仿者比比皆是。即使是歷史悠久、享有聲譽的劇團,也開始改變他們的設計及劇本來吸引喜歡麻皮偶的觀眾們。

或許在美國這商業化、多種族、及宗教多元化的社會中,這可以算是一個新的傳統的開始。我認為我們要以一個很實際的觀點來看待這個事實:和世界上其他偶戲文化不同的是,我們並沒有文化、社會、宗教或政治上的力量來教導、或認可這種傳統,而就像是布拉克或薩格所引起的模仿效應一般,麻皮偶的成功很單純地就是因為他們聰明且討人喜歡。其他偶戲工作者也希望能得到像麻皮偶一樣的成功,仿效者於是很快地產生。漢森極具氣度修養,他不但沒有為自己的作品遭到仿冒而生氣,反而鼓勵其他美國的偶戲工作者開拓視野,欣賞世界上其他豐富的偶戲藝術。漢森鼓勵大家發掘自己獨特的方式,正如同他所實踐的。

於是我們開始注意世界上的偶戲表演,探索其文化背景以及表達方式:日本的文樂(Bunraku),印尼和馬來西亞的影戲(Wayang),印度的影戲(Tholu Bomalatta),土耳其卡拉哥影戲(Karagoz),希臘的卡拉吉歐西斯影戲(Karaghiosis),義大利藝術喜劇(Commedia),德國的賈士博(Kasperl)及漢斯佛斯特(Hans Wurst)掌中偶戲,法國溫紐掌中偶戲(Guignol)及影戲(Ombres Chinoises),英國的龐奇掌中偶戲及許多的其他。就連李天祿先生也教授了一些美國學生關於台灣掌中戲的基本技巧,對我們的研究貢獻良多。從這些研究當中,我們對於不同文化的偶戲藝術有了更深入的瞭解,也更多了一份尊敬。我們更甚於去研究偶戲在其他藝術形式中的運用:像是歐洲20世紀初的藝術運動;希臘羅馬的古典戲劇;芭蕾、現代、民俗、儀式性及部落舞蹈;文學以及儀典。我們發現偶戲像是一個十字路口,許多的意念在其中自由運行、交錯、發生火花。對於美國的偶戲工作者來說,所能使用的表達形式也更形寬廣。

漢森也試著向世界介紹我們。與其他的貢獻者如南西、詩達(Nancy Stub)文生、安瑟尼(Vicent Anthony)愛利露、科頓(Allelu Kurten)及彼得、查普勒提(Peter Zapletal)的努力下,1980年UNIMA所舉辦的世界偶戲藝術節在華盛頓舉行。美國偶戲家協會所舉辦的全國偶戲藝術節也在同時舉行。這是美國偶戲史上第一次大規模地將偶戲家集合起來和世界上的偶戲家們面對面。我們從許多世界頂尖的偶戲藝術家身上學習:德國的亞伯特羅瑟、法國的香提偶(Phillipe Genty)、俄國的希爾蓋、奧布拉索夫(Sergei Obraztsov)、澳洲的理查、布拉蕭(Richard Bradshaw),荷蘭的漢克、博溫科(Henk Boerwinkel)、及捷克的龍劇團(Teatr Drak)等。美國也展現世界級藝術家的作品像是布魯斯、史瓦茲(Bruce Schwartz)、茱莉、泰摩(Julie Taymor),以及麵包傀儡劇團等。這次活動的影響力甚至到今日仍舊可以感受得到。

在1970年代晚期,偶戲藝術又有了一次跨越性的進步,電影工業中許多“非偶戲家”的創作者們運用了偶戲在電影中的潛力。我這裡所指的像是大導演喬治盧卡斯(George Lucas),史蒂芬史匹柏(Steven Spielberg)等等。(我並非忽略了早期的電影動畫師像是“偶卡通”(Puppetoon)中的喬治、帕(George Pal)或“金剛”中的威利斯、歐布萊恩(Willis O’Brein)及其他)。但是盧卡斯和史匹柏的計畫需要最新的專業技巧,也為偶戲研發者、設計者、製作者、及表演者們提供了許多機會。星際大戰第一部充分展現了電影科技的突飛猛進,其特效手法也隨著每次新電影的推出而翻新。幾年以前,當我看到侏儸紀公園中由電腦所合成的生物,我想我將目睹偶戲走向末路了,但是當我參加由史蒂夫、威廉斯(Steve Williams,他為Industrial Light and Magic公司服務,為這部電影的計畫總監)所主持的一項討論會中,我改觀了。第一這些恐龍是先塑成縮小比例的模型,再以雷射以三度空間座標掃描進電腦。他們在模型的決定點上裝上發射器,當操偶者操控模型移動時,接收器便可以讀出發射器之間的相關位置,把所有的資料都輸入電腦。威廉斯會要求程式設計者上偶戲及默劇的課程,以了解動作的動力來源,以及和物體的質量、體積及密度的關係。他們需要偶戲工作者們擔任設計、雕塑、操控或是講師的工作,才能製造出恐龍栩栩如生的動態。這不是偶戲的結束,而是一項新的發展方向。這些科技為電視及舞台偶戲也帶來了深遠的影響,無論是在材料或技術上,其得到的效果也不可否認。但是千百萬的製作預算不是時時都有,然而藝術的可能性或是新的思考模式則是唾手可得。也有一些藝術家或是觀眾們偏愛簡單(但並非簡陋)的表達形式。

要將美國今日所有獨特且傑出的偶戲藝術家在此一一列舉是不可能的,有這麼多傑出的藝術家值得我們欣賞:珍妮、蓋瑟(Janie Geiser)是從平面設計的背景出身,喜歡在作品中加入電影元素;羅門、帕斯卡(Roman Paska)則有神祕的一面,他以哲學和文學的素養來創造一種深奧的劇場氛圍。保羅、薩路(Paul Zaloom)以和麵包傀儡劇團共同工作多年的經驗,發展出雜物劇場(Object Theater)來表達他對社會及政治的諷刺;羅夫、李(Ralph Lee)專注在表達人類的經驗、混合使用了不同尺寸的戲偶和面具來創作。除了他們還有許多許多的藝術家們是值得向大家介紹的。

在此我簡單的向大家介紹三位我非常尊敬的藝術家。他們對美國的現代偶戲也有很重要的影響:

艾瑞克、巴斯(Eric Bass)出身紐約,具有猶太血統。他早期的偶戲作品並無特別之處,不過就是簡單又具娛樂性的民俗傳說或神話故事的講述。二十年前他決定要“向自己的過去挑戰”,他搬到德國。大家應記憶猶新,在那塊土地上他和他的猶太同胞們曾歷盡了苦難。他在那兒經驗了從前及今日的文化,深入地了解日耳曼民族,持續拓展偶戲的知識及技術,也結交了許多專業的藝術家朋友。

作為一個創作者,巴斯成長了。經由偶戲他探索了自己繼承的文化,找到了一種方式來敘述個人的故事卻能讓他的觀眾感受宇宙共通的情感。最近他開始創作關於現在他所居住的地方──佛蒙特州(Vermont)的故事。再一次他呈現了能使美國及歐洲的觀眾都感到興趣的說故事方式,也經常來往於兩地巡迴演出。當我回頭看他的創作歷程,發現到他與生俱來的一項天賦──說故事的能力。無論是大到關於文化衝擊的故事或是小到鞋匠在臨死前修理了最後一雙鞋,艾瑞克、巴斯都能夠緊緊的掌握住觀眾的心。

賴瑞、瑞德(Larry Reed)來自舊金山,雖然他的訓練背景是演員以及舞者,他對電影攝影的興趣也使得他在其上努力鑽研。在一次工作機會中他被派到巴里島拍攝皮影戲大師的紀錄片,在拍攝的過程中,他愛上了巴里島、愛上那裏的人們以及皮影戲。他一直留在巴里島並學習如何成為皮影戲演師(Dalang)。他讓美國觀眾接觸到何謂巴里島皮影戲,他使用傳統方法來表演巴里島的傳統故事。就如同在巴里島傳統的表演中一樣,天神和英雄是使用階級較高的語言卡維(Kawi)來溝通、這種語言只有教士以及學者們能夠了解;一般低下階層的角色則是講當地通行的語言,在美國演出時當然也就是英語。

在近十年來瑞德一直在實驗融合使用傳統影戲以及他在舞蹈、劇場、電影方面的才能。他發明了一種獨特的影戲面具,能讓演員很容易地進入劇中角色,並靈活掌控銀幕上的畫面。他也發展了特別的燈光設備,無論任何距離或角度都能將影像均勻且清晰地打至銀幕上。他還將這種燈光改良成能以手執的設備,使得他最近的作品呈現出電影式的效果,同時瑞德也嘗試將他的影戲表演放大到整個舞台的大小。除了個人的創作外,他還和美國各地的歌劇、交響樂團或是劇場合作,經由他的創意及影響,使美國的影戲劇場更加的豐富且令人期待。

茱莉、泰摩像瑞德及巴斯一樣,具有廣泛的劇場訓練背景,也在國外待過一段時期,吸收不同的文化以發展自己的聲音。她的創作包括了自創故事或改編從果多尼(Gordoni)到莎士比亞等傳統的戲劇作品、歌劇、電視製作、以及電影。雖然她在創作中總是運用了偶戲,但是她從來不稱自己為偶戲藝術家,而認為自己是個劇場藝術家。偶戲只是她創意調色盤上的一個顏色,調色盤上其他的顏色還有舞蹈、音樂、戲劇、電影、以及任何她認為能適切地製造出強烈效果的表達形式。

我完全同意泰摩的創作理念,我相信她多元化的切入,成就了當今美國最優秀的劇場表演。美國舞台在三十年以來,充斥我所謂的“餐桌寫實劇”(kitchen table reality )也就是一個家庭圍繞在餐桌旁討論他們的問題,不論是核心家庭、同性戀家庭、小偷家庭,或任何一種足以束縛他們成為家庭的元素,他們總是停留在同樣的地方,講述他們的故事。一直到近幾年來,我們才看到面具或戲偶開始加入美國舞台,讓戲劇跳脫出平庸的日常生活,達到更高的藝術表現。

茱莉、泰摩走在這股新潮流的最前端,而這股潮流也是我相信非常健康而且極具表現力的。最近她和迪士尼公司合作製作百老匯音樂劇“獅子王”(The Lion King),迪士尼賦予她很大的自由空間重新詮釋原本以動畫形式表達的故事。她融合了世界上各種類型的面具及偶戲形式,再加上巧妙的劇場安排、音樂、舞蹈、以及視覺效果,完成了令人讚嘆的製作。一年半之內的票券都已售嚳,也得到了許多獎項的肯定,其中包括了五項令戲劇工作者垂涎的東尼獎。這個製作同時為偶戲藝術帶來了刺激以及新鮮的評價,也引發了許多偶戲藝術家們對自己正面的省思,其影響也及於我自己所帶領的偶戲課程。(舞蹈在獅子王的表演中是如此迷人的一項元素,我決定將肢體訓練及舞蹈從建議選修課程改為偶戲學生的必修課程。)

今日


站在二十世紀的尾端來思考美國偶戲藝術的現況是非常有趣的。美國偶戲家協會每兩年舉辦一次全國性藝術節,其間則舉辦六個小型的地區性藝術節。吉姆漢森基金會(Jim Henson Foundation)於紐約每兩年主辦一次國際性的偶戲藝術節,引薦超過百場以上的演出且票券非常搶手。其他地區也間或會舉辦小型的國際性藝術節。“偶戲拼盤”(Puppetry Slam,綜合性的表演)在餐館、俱樂部、咖啡廳呈現。包含了偶戲的百老匯或外百老匯製作,在許多的城市巡迴演出。從學校、圖書館到劇場的表演中都可以見到巡迴偶戲工作者們的蹤跡。

美國當代的偶戲包括了非常多樣化的演出形式以表達各種不同的目的;也經由許多不一樣的媒介來呈現:電影、電視、舞台、教室、以至於街頭。偶戲工作者從專業到業餘,來自繪畫、雕塑、舞蹈、音樂、劇場、電影、教育,或治療等各項領域。戲偶角色們或是活在自己象徵的世界裏,或是安然的穿插在真人的世界之中。他們可以做寫實主義式的表演或是直接和觀眾對話,或是只是特殊效果中的一項手法。他們有時是“真的”,有時是由電腦合成的。偶戲的形式正像是創造他們的藝術家們一樣那麼的多。

我在這篇文章的開頭說“美國沒有偶戲的傳統。”在美國所發生的這一切都不是從任何單一的文化而來,也不是由一代傳給一代,在表現手法上也從未固守唯一或是既有的形式。不過各位如果了解美國多元化的文化背景,便會發現其實美國偶戲藝術有一項“非常傳統”──多元化以及個人化的自由表達。不論是喜劇或悲劇、娛樂性的或是劇力萬鈞的、詩意的或粗俗的、簡單的或是複雜的、寫實的或是抽象的、意義深遠或是無意義的──經由許多個別工作者自由地表達他們的心聲,成就了美國的偶戲藝術。


譯註1:時間儀式(The Rites of Passage)是指成年禮、死亡儀式等等紀念和時間有關的儀式。
譯註2:Puppeteer大多指偶戲演員,也可泛指所有從事和偶有關的工作者。本文中依據上下文而使用偶戲演員、偶戲家、偶戲工作者、操偶者等翻譯。
譯註3:由於語言在翻譯過程中所呈現出的差異性,在此對本文中關於偶戲類型的名詞翻譯做一說明:
Marionette:在美國單指懸絲偶,在歐洲則泛指所有的偶。
String puppet:本文中譯為懸絲偶。中文裡或有稱提線偶、提線傀儡等。
Hand puppet:本文譯為掌中偶,亦有稱布袋偶、手套偶等。
Rod Puppet:本文以杖頭偶譯之,在台灣亦有稱棒偶、撐桿偶等。
Shadow Puppet:影偶。
譯註4:法國的影戲名為“Ombres Chinoises”其意義為“中國影子”。法國偶戲發展當時歐洲對東方文化相當嚮往,又加上中國影戲向來極富盛名因而得名。
譯註5:戲法懸絲偶(Trick String Puppet或Trick Marionette)是指能夠變把戲的懸絲偶,如倒立、雜耍、解體等。
譯註6:西西里懸絲偶(Sicilian Marionette):懸絲偶的一種,從偶的頭頂有一根鐵桿連接到操縱器上,其餘操作同懸絲偶。
譯註7:The Muppet Show 在台灣播映時譯為“大青蛙劇場”。

參考書目:
Blumenthal, E., Taymor, J., JULIE TAYMOR - PLAYING WITH FIRE, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., NY, 1995.
Davis, S. SAY KIDS! WHAT TIME IS IT?, Little, Brown and Company, Boston. 1987
Finch, C. JIM HENSON - THE WORKS, Random House, NY. 1993.
Hunt, T., TONY SARG., Charlemagne Press, North Vancouver, Canada. 1988.
King, J.C.H., PORTRAIT MASKS, Blacker, Calman, Cooper Ltd., London. 1979.
McPharlin. P., THE PUPPET THEATRE IN AMERICA, Plays, Inc., Boston. 1949, 1969.


原文

U.S. Non-tradition

Bart. P. Roccoberton, Jr.
Puppet Arts Program, University of Connecticut
原文載於1999國際偶戲學術研討會論文集

 There are no traditions in the Puppet Theatre of the United States.  At the same moment this statement is both frightening and inspiring. There is not the comfort and security of a known character or story. No preordained methods of manipulation or storytelling exist. There are no cultural, social or religious dictates or occasions in which the puppet is expected to appear and no occasions that celebrate the puppet. There is at the same time, however, the boundless freedom to create new characters and stories or to retell old ones. The means of expressing the ideas is limited only by the creator's skills and imagination. Since no one occasion belongs to the puppet, all occasions are free for the taking.

 In this article, it is my desire to give you a sense of what American puppetry is today and how it has come to be. We must acknowledge here that in this short paper I make no claims to present the breadth or depth of the puppet theatre in the U.S. Much will be left out. If you are interested to learn more I can lead you to books which can give you the information you seek. In pursuit of my intent, I will share with you my own observations and interpretations.

 Before this hemisphere was filled with foreign explorers and colonists there were native traditions in puppetry and mask. Most often their use was related to ancestor worship, fertility ceremonies, rites of passage, shamanism and healing. Sadly, like so much of the native culture, the puppetry and masks were either ignored or crushed. We can view artifacts of a mask society of the Seneca nation in the the Finger Lake region of New York state; we can read anthropological reports of ceremonies prior to 1900 of the Hopi nation in Arizona which were performed with puppets; we can witness the still-living mask and puppet practices of the North Pacific Coast tribes. However, because of isolation, ignorance or extinction, the native tradition has had little or no influence on the contemporary puppet theatre of the United States until recently when scholars and artists have started to ask questions which should never have had to been asked..

 The first immigrant groups to colonize the northeast region of North America left behind religious intolerance and persecution in Europe. They sought the freedom to practice their beliefs. They lived a life of self-imposed austerity and were intolerant of others who believed differently. Their ethic forbade dance, drink, gaming and entertainment and encouraged piety, sobriety and hard work. There was no room for the puppet theatre in this society. Over time the settlement of the Eastern Seaboard included colonies of Dutch, English, German, French and Spanish. Although forests and rivers separated them, time, war, need and political deal-making made the colonies dependent on each other for trade and security. Their common struggle for survival helped to lessen their mistrust of each other and served to define a means of coexistence. As a common society developed, the extreme beliefs of the original settlers were either reduced or isolated.

 Because of its size and relative ease of transport it can be assumed that the puppet had made early appearances in the colonies. However, the first evidence of puppetry being presented came from an advertisement for a performance in New York in 1739. It is unsure what the performance was or even if it was actually presented with puppets. All available information leads researchers to believe that it was a small puppet performance by an English dance master, Henry Holt.

 From the early 1700s forward we are able to witness the presence of puppeteers by examining newspapers, advertisements and historic documents. For example, in 1776 before he became the first U.S. President, George Washington mentions in his diary that he paid to see a puppet performance. Most of the performances we see announced appear to have been presented by visiting English, French, German and Italian practitioners. Perhaps some of these performers were, themselves, immigrants. Others may have been natural-born colonists. The shows they presented were similar to performances taking place for more than a century throughout Europe. They included string puppets, hand puppets featuring England's famous "Mr. Punch" and shadow performances that had been called by the French name "Ombres Chinoises" - Chinese Shadows. The purpose of these performances was primarily entertainment. When a Bible story or an historic event was presented to enlighten its audience, it still contained special effects and transformations intended to entertain.

With the western expansion of the populated territory itinerant puppeteers moved with the settlers. In 1825 Alberto Lano, the son of a puppet performer, immigrated from Italy carrying string puppets for performing Orlando Furioso. For the next century Alberto, his son Oliver and his grandson David traversed the length and breadth of the continent performing in villages, mining camps and other settlements. Their repertoire included biblical stories, Punch and Judy, Uncle Tom's Cabin, William Tell, Dr. Faust and variety turns performed by string puppets and hand puppets. They journeyed along the rough hewn paths of the frontiers. For all of their fortitude, courage and experience their shows had little long-lasting effect on the art itself. What they developed and learned was kept only within their family. Three generations of Lanos took up puppetry in America, but we do not see their work affecting other practitioners. The hard life they chose to lead caused no others to aspire to their task. Therefore, the Lano family remain a unique, but isolated phenomena in American puppet theatre development. They were individuals who fsimply ound fulfillment in their chosen career.

 In 1873 two American entertainment managers, John E. McDonough and Hartly A. Earnshaw brought a performanace tour by John Bullock and his Royal Marionettes from England. It is because of this troupe that we eventually see the core of American puppetry start to form. Bullock brought with him an English puppeteer named Thomas Holden. Holden's importance for American puppetry isn't truly realized until 40 years later, long after he had returned to England. Other Bullock performers - Walter Deaves, Daniel Meader and Harry Middleton - were hired and trained in the U.S.

For one year the troupe met success, both creatively and financially. There are several reasons for this success. Primary among them is the fact that their management was smart, planning and publicizing in detail. There is also a conjunction of historic facts to consider. This period following the American Civil War is called "Reconstruction". There is much confusion in the society and much opportunity for an entrepreneur: the agricultural south is redefining itself in the absence of slavery; northern industry is retooling and manufacturing goods for the benefit of society; and the western frontier is narrowed with further expansion and the completion of the transcontinental railroad. The society was changing - restructuring and developing. The ability of the Royal Marionettes to book good theaters for their performances, publicize their shows widely  and effectively and provide exciting quality entertainment contributes largely to their success.

 The shows were presented in three sections: The Fantoccini, which included nine trick string puppets; The Minstrel Show, based upon a human entertainment form which had been popular in the U.S. throughout the 19th century and eventually provided the structure for American Vaudeville; and The Extravaganza, a grand telling of a fairy tale, ending in a spectacular transformation. Each part of the show was presented with the sole intentionof entertaining.

 In 1874, there was a break down in the business relationship between Bullock and his managers. The Royal Marionettes dissolved and Bullock returned to England. His formula for grand entertainment remained in America. Manager McDonough formed another troupe from Bullock's performers and continued to perform the three part shows. This troupe took advantage of the new transcontinental transportation, performing throughout the western territories. Because of the success of the Bullock-style show, imitators appeared. Eventually Deaves, Meader and Middleton took their performances to the Vaudeville stage where they continued a successful career of entertaining through the early 1900s.

 In the late 19th century and the early years of the 20th century, the U.S. government moved to control the extensive practice of sweat shops and the use of child labor by industry. Children were expected to attend school and not to work in the factories. This created a void for many hours every day when children needed to be properly occupied. Suddenly there was a proliferation of publications for children related to hobbies and after school activities. The Chicago Little Theatre, feeling that cultural enrichment was a necessity for children, sent Ellen Van Volkenberg to Europe to discover appropriate theatrical entertainment forms. Her search was aimed specifically at the puppet theatre.

 A defining moment for contemporary American puppetry came through a man who was born in Guatemala to German diplomat parents. His name was Tony Sarg. From a young age he was encouraged by his grandmother toward fantasy, mechanical toys and art. His father insisted that he attend a military academy. In 1897 Sarg was commissioned as a German artillery officer. This was not the career he wanted. In 1905 he moved to London, England where he could pursue his skills and interest as an illustrator for London magazines. One of his assignments brought him to a performance by Thomas Holden, the once-Bullock puppet performer. Holden's show was similar to Bullock's, using trick marionettes and being focused entirely on entertainment. Sarg was captivated by the performance. He asked to sit backstage so that he might witness the magic that the troupe created. He was denied the request! This was still within the time when the "magic" of the western puppet performers, especially the string performers, was kept secret. Everything was hidden, even from the stage hands, by suspending a piece of fabric around their stage and bridge housing. It was known as "The Canvas".

 This refusal did not dissuade Sarg. He sat in the front row for several of Holden's performances, sketching everything that he saw. I can't help but imagine that Sarg also peeked up under the proscenium curtain to learn how the puppets were strung and controlled. Combing this newly gained knowledge with his life-long interest in mechanical toys he started to create his own puppets He devised methods for their construction and manipulation. Sarg started performing puppet vignettes at social soirees. He was pleased with the reactions he received. He felt that the puppets helped present him as a multi-talented artist, broadening the respect he desired for himself. Unfortunately, in 1914 with the advent of World War I, Sarg was ostracized from his London society. Being of German descent, and a former artillery officer he found himself unwelcome. He moved with his American wife to New York City and started over establishing himself as an illustrator.

 As part of the process of getting his name and talents known in New York, Tony Sarg attended social soirees. As he started making contacts and friends, he would occasionally perform with his puppets. The events of the world again intervened. In 1916 a Broadway producer, Winthrop Ames, had booked Christmas season performances with Papa Schmid's Munich Artists Marionette Theatre of Germany. Because of the hostilities of World War I, the troupe was unable to fulfill the engagement. At a soiree where Sarg performed his string puppets, Ames asked the illustrator if he could present a marionette show in the Broadway theater. Sarg said, "Yes!"

 With no knowledge or understanding of the puppetry that had gone before him and making no attempt to call upon others, such as Deaves, Meader and Middleton, whose experience might have helped in this endeavor, Tony Sarg set forth to mount a large Broadway production. Using the ideas he had observed while watching Holden, his first show presented three stories which were interwoven with characters that could perform sensational tricks. Because of the size of the Broadway theater building, Ames suggested that the figures be built at thirty six inches tall. The stage house, bridge and sets were then constructed to accommodate the giant puppets. Because of the puppets' size, more than 24 performers were required to present the show.

The engagement was a critical success, delighting audiences of children and adults alike. However, because of the dimensions of the show, material costs and labor fees drained any possibility of financial success. Taking this as a challenge, Sarg and Ames decided to mount another show together with the intent of attaining financial success. Sarg learned many lessons from his mistakes and reduced the size of the puppet performers. This and subsequent shows put Sarg into the forefront of American puppetry and allowed him to achieve his desired financial goals.

 Although he no longer performed the puppet creations himself, Sarg continued to innovate techniques for the construction and manipulation of the figures within his designs. To his credit, he drew around him a group of trusted and talented artists who could achieve his goals for high quality entertainment.
 Through careful and considered booking and promotion The Tony Sarg Marionettes became the premier puppet troupe in America for nearly 20 years. They toured the country from coast to coast, always returning to perform on Broadway in the Christmas season. Tony, himself, is now respected as the "Father of Modern American Puppetry" because he brought wide public awareness to the art and served as a focal point for artists practicing in and entering the field. But puppetry was not his only endeavor. He used his diverse talents and keen sense of promotion and marketing  to continue drawing his illustrations, to design children-friendly barber shops, to invent giant helium-filled character balloons for parades and to market clothing, toys, puppets, stages, games and books featuring his characters.

 Although his were not the first books in the U.S. to teach how make puppets, they were the first to be promoted properly. This is important because it helped to develop knowledgeable audiences and encouraged future practitioners. It contributed to the formation of our national organization of puppetry, The Puppeteers of America, and, I believe, it made possible the university level training program that I now direct. Sarg chose to expose the magic of the puppet theatre to his audiences. He dropped "The Canvas" and invited reporters backstage to witness how he created his stage illusions. He understood the American mind. He knew that the audience would enjoy his work more if they understood something about the ingenuity and innovations that went into their creation.

 It is said that Sarg inspired a "puppet theatre revival" in the U.S. This implies that there had once been a strong practice of puppet theatre in America which had waned and was being brought back to life. I don't find that to be true. It is my opinion that he provoked something much more important - a Puppet Theatre Revolution, in which American puppet performers found widespread practice for their art. There were many creators who were influenced by the form and style of Bullock, but they developed in different directions to find their own expressions and audiences. Ellen Van Volkenburg, who was inspired by the theories of theatre sage Gordon Craig, traveled throughout Europe collecting ideas for the Chicago Little Theatre. When she returned to the U.S. she worked with Sarg's troupe. She convinced him that the puppet performer should both move the puppet and speak the lines. Until this time, two performers were hired to create one character - one doing the voice and the other the manipulation. (Van Volkenberg is credited with coining the term "puppeteer", which derived from the word "muleteer", meaning  "someone who drives a herd of mules.") Van Volkenberg also helped Sarg reshape his productions to strengthen their dramatic line.

 Remo Bufano drew inspiration from his Italian heritage through Sicilian Marionette performances he saw in New York City. (Sicilian Marionettes are one of the few cultural puppets that came to the U.S. with the immigrant group.) But Bufano didn't limit himself within his cultural tradition. He explored many forms of puppetry. When he worked with Billy Rose's Broadway Musical, Jumbo, he created giant, crane-operated marionettes. For Robert Edmund Jones' production of Igor Stravinsky's opera, Oedipus Rex, Bufano used 9 foot tall rod puppets. Paul McPharlin always had an international perspective. He attended the organizational meetings of UNIMA in Europe. Because of broad influences he also experimented with different forms of puppet, but left his true legacy as an historian and organizer. It is McPharlin who drew together, in 1937, The Puppeteers of America, our national organization. His desire was to have puppet artists know each other and share ideas, believing that isolation and jealousy inhibited the growth of the art form. Marjorie Batchelder (later Batchelder-McPharlin) also explored variant forms of puppet theatre expression. She wrote a thoroughly researched book on rod puppetry which, before the 20th century, was not a practiced form in the puppet theatre of the U.S.

 Early in this century as the puppet revival/revolution expanded, we witness that the American artists did not feel bound by any one form of expression. Each moved in their own direction seeking the tools that would best express their own ideas. Although the types of expression of the American puppet theatre broadened from the early part of this century, the dominant purpose of the puppet remained that of entertainment and the dominant vehicle of expression was the string puppet. The possibilities and means of presentation, however, continued to expand with each individual practitioner.

 Bil Baird and Margo & Rufus Rose, who had worked with the Sarg troupe, became leaders of American puppetry through the 1960s and beyond. I do not place them in this position because their work marked any beginning of a tradition. Their work did inspire imitation. However I feel they deserve leadership recognition because they willingly shared ideas with and nurtured other artists while encouraging the further development of the art form. Baird and the Roses understood that the potentials for the art in the U.S. could only be met by continuing to explore and redefine what was already known.

Throughout U.S. history, government funding for the arts has been a rare phenomenon. Why this indifference to the encouragement of cultural identification exists deserves a much larger study than can be presented here. It did occur that for a brief period in the 1930s many puppeteers gained state support for their work. This happened during the Great Depression - a devastating economic period. As part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's program, The New Deal, the W.P.A. (Work Progress Administration) was formed to provide a respectable job and sustenance for those who lost their work situations resulting from the stock market crash of 1929. Under the W.P.A., the Federal Theatre Project provided work placements for artists in all disciplines. It was a time in which artists created in consideration of "the better good" - those things that would benefit society at large, rather than self-sustenance. Murals, sculptures and performances were part of the effort. In 1939 this project ended abruptly, leaving many artists struggling to support themselves. In the 1960s the National Endowment for the Arts was established. It was not until the 1980s that the NEA recognized the Puppet Arts as something other than "Folk Arts". Coincidentally, since that time when recognition was gained, Congress, the funding body, has hacked away at government support for the arts. Today, because of Congress' lack of cultural vision, government funding is almost non-existent for the Puppet Arts.

The advent of television provided puppeteers with new opportunities. Burr Tillstrom , Bil Baird and the Roses were among our first television performers in the late 1940s. Baird's string puppets presented "situation comedies" based upon characters and conditions that were entertaining. He also worked with human celebrities to produce special broadcast programs such as Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. Tillstrom's program, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, was presented with hand puppets in a style which had been inspired by Percy Press , England's Punch and Judy Professor. The program's characters were endearing and attracted audiences of adults, as well as children. Margo and Rufus Rose were hired in 1949 to work with and enhance the popular Howdy Doody Show. The program aired daily through 1960 and is credited with creating Children's Programming (the first nationally broadcast program intended specifically for children), Daytime Programming (until this show was aired, all television broadcasting took place in the early evening hours only) and Commercial Programming (in 1948, the lead character, "Howdy Doody", was presented as a national presidential candidate representing "kids". At the time there were 1,000,000 television sets in the U.S. Through a free give-away offer of campaign buttons the program received more than 5,000,000 responses. The producer, Roger Muir, realized that something special was occurring. He contacted a commercial concern and product-endorsed American television was born). Initially, all of these programs were regional offerings, performing for audiences in a specific geographical location. But, as the isolated television stations developed into networks, they became national programs. "Howdy Doody" is today considered an American cultural icon.

 Although performing in a new medium the puppeteers did not "use" the potentials of the medium. Early television production appeared to be a live stage puppet show recorded by a camera. Puppet stages (booths) were often part of the presentation. In 1954 Jim Henson answered a newspaper ad for puppeteers to perform on a local television station. Being interested in the medium of television itself he devised moving mouth puppets which he thought might best function in the medium. He called his company "The Muppets". Through successful appearances and personal initiative he was soon performing 5 minute spots two times every day. Henson's work was individual, innovative, humorous and captivating and the placement of the shows was also fortuitous. He broadcast from the National Broadcasting Company's affiliate in Washington, D.C., the nation's capitol. The early evening show was placed just before  The Huntley/Brinkley Show, a respected national news broadcast. The late night show preceded The Tonight Show, which was a popular, ground-breaking national comedy program. Henson's ingenuity received an opportune showcase, bringing his work to almost immediate national prominence.

Like Sarg's entrance, Henson's work had no relationship to what was happening in puppetry prior to or at the time of his first endeavors in television. His work came from no tradition. It answered no requirements. His main interest was the medium itself. He created a puppet type that he felt could best express his ideas across the medium. The caricatured moving-mouth figure was similar in operation to the "Alligator" in the centuries-old Punch & Judy. In further consideration of the medium, Henson chose not to use a puppet booth or stage - the camera's point of view became his performance area. To control his performance he set up floor monitors whereby he and his performers could see exactly what the viewers were seeing. With this simple innovation he made the performer an integral partner with the director and the camera operator in the creation, positioning and cropping of the on-line scene.

 Jim Henson's genius was proclaimed through his national successes. His early productions led to guest appearances on nationally broadcast programs and, in 1969, to Sesame Street, the defining children's television programming for the next three decades, produced by the Children's Television Workshop. Television at this time also included some smaller roles for Burr Tillstrom's Kukla, Fran & Ollie and moving mouth imitators of Henson. String puppetry was rarely seen. The Bullock/Sarg marionette heritage waned, while the entertainment aspect grew stronger. Bil Baird's work continued to be a presence of interest, but it's focused attention lessened. It is important to note that in 1969, immediately before the first U.S. moon landing, broadcast simulations showing how it would look to walk on the moon were performed by Bil Baird's Marionettes.

In the 1960s live stage puppetry was still dominated by marionettes. However, television entertainment started to dominate the interest of the public and live performance began to suffer. Henson and Tillstrom imitators were appearing in the live venues, perhaps in the hope of capturing some of the success of the TV programs. Two other unique innovations enriched the expressions of American puppetry. The first was the formation of The Bread and Puppet Company under the direction of German immigrant Peter Schumann. Drawing inspiration from eastern European traditions, Schumann's troupe quickly moved from presenting fairy tales to protesting the U.S. involvement in Viet Nam. Using giant figures that bore primitive richness and symbolic depth, they moved into the streets and grabbed the attention of the people and the news reporters. Bread and Puppet presented allegories in an attempt to cause change. Through Schumann's passionate work American puppetry found the potential for having a strong conscience and voice. He had something to say that was powerful, important and meaningful.

 The second innovation of the 1960s was the establishment of two Puppet Arts Training Programs - the first at the University of California in Los Angeles by Mel Helstein, the second at the University of Connecticut by Frank Ballard. Until that time, U.S. puppeteers developed their skills either through trial and error or by apprenticing with an established troupe. The goal of these programs was to create a staging ground where the art could be developed through research, experimentation and the training of knowledgeable, quality practitioners. Modeled on the idea of academic training as had been established in Prague, Czechoslovakia, they were developed as a professional training program within the structure of a university. While earning a traditional college degree, students took classes in acting, voice, directing, scene design, costume design, lighting design, theatre history and puppetry. The classroom skills were practically applied through large main stage productions which included performance with rods, shadows, masks, hand and string.  I was a student under Professor Ballard in the 1970s.

 The UCLA program functioned through the mid-1980s when Professor Helstein retired. A lack of vision by the university eventually closed the program. A similar fate awaited the program at the University of Connecticut. It was a given fact that Professor Ballard would soon retire. Many asked the university to specify the future of the program. Aside from alumni, others seeking response included Margo Rose, Bil Baird, Burr Tillstrom, Albrecht Roser (of Germany) and Jim Henson. The university refused to project the future because there was little understanding as to why the program was developed in the first place. This reflects a general overall misunderstanding of the Puppet Arts by the American public. The extreme success of puppetry as a children's entertainment, as evidenced primarily through television, diminished its perception as a viable subject for university study.

 From the profession's point of view, however, the value of the formal training was unquestioned. In recognition of what had been accomplished in the university training programs, concern was expressed among the leading artists in the field. A desire to have some control over the future of Puppet Arts training led to a meeting in 1984 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, a site dedicated to developing the American Theatre. Programs already in existence at The O'Neill were the National Playwrights Conference, the National Critics Institute, the National Music Theatre Conference, the National Theatre Institute and Creative Arts in Education. (The National Theatre of the Deaf  was also developed at the O'Neill.) The Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center was internationally recognized as "the heartbeat of American Theatre." With the support of Margo Rose, Bil Baird, Burr Tillstrom, Albrecht Roser and Jim Henson a new training program was established - The Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts (IPPA). At the request of the founders, I was asked to serve as the Director.

In hope for the survival of the University of Connecticut program, IPPA was set up as a conservatory which could coexist with the academic program at UConn. Its intention was to be a "safety net" for the necessary training that appeared to be in jeopardy at UCLA and UConn. For six years IPPA served the Puppet Arts. Programs were established to enlighten and attract the public, train the student and serve the professional. Performance series, workshops and exhibits were developed. Training with leading artists from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia was created for students attending from the U.S., Canada, South America and the Middle East. Professional artists were enriched by the close contact (through the O'Neill Center's programs) with the professional human theatre. Sadly, the Institute needed to run on funding through grants, gifts and earned income. This was exactly the moment of Congress' arts cutbacks. Encouraged by President Ronald Regan's short-sighted vision of arts funding and the arts, in general, Congress cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Regan then declared that industry and corporations should become "The Medici's" (the patrons) of the arts. The next year President Regan cut tax incentives for industry and corporations to offer such support. As IPPA's artistic endeavors grew, it's financial founding diminished. In 1989, the program had to be declared "artistically vibrant and financially dead".

 Jane Henson, Jim Henson's wife and creative partner recognized the importance of a Puppet Arts program at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. With her support, the National Puppetry Conference was born from the ashes of IPPA. Annually, this program brings together top level professional artists with young practitioners from around the world to develop new puppet theatre productions. Under the Artistic Direction of Richard Termine, June of 1999 will celebrate the 9th annual conference.

 Upon Frank Ballard's retirement in 1989, the university declared the program closed. This caused much commotion locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Letters poured in from every corner of the world saying, "You cannot close this program. You do not understand what you have." Still with uncertainty, the university reestablished the Puppet Arts Program. I was asked to direct it. Currently we have 28 students from the U.S., Colombia, China and Taiwan. The program offers an undergraduate Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and graduate Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees.

 From the 1970s Jim Henson's Muppets grew even more popular. In addition to Sesame Street he produced The Muppet Show, an avant garde variety entertainment show, which was watched by adults and children alike. The strong, unique characters, enticing performances, outrageous situations and simple, effective design attracted many young artists. Although my own first puppets were built to express my interest in Bertolt Brecht's theatre theories, I will admit that my next puppets were attempting to look like Henson's Muppets. I was not alone. Muppet imitators were everywhere. Even long-established troupes with long-standing reputations started changing their designs and scripts to capture some of the popularity of The Muppets.
 Maybe in the commercial, multi-ethnic, diverse-religious society that is the United States, this could be seen as the beginning of a tradition. However, similar to Bullock's and Sarg's imitators, I think that this should be seen from a more practical point of view: Unlike other world traditions, there were no cultural, societal, religious or political authorities dictating, approving or acknowledging this expression Simply, the Muppets were clever and very popular. Other puppeteers wanted to have some of that success for themselves. Imitation happened very quickly. Jim Henson was a gracious man. Instead of getting angry about his creative work being "stolen", he encouraged American puppeteers to open their eyes and to look around the world to see all the different expressions of the puppet arts. Henson encouraged us to find our own individual voice, as he had done.

 We started to examine the phenomena of international puppet art and its cultural applications and expressions: the Japanese Bunraku, the Indonesian and Malaysian Wayang, the Indian Tholu Bomalatta, the Turkish Karagos, the Greek Karaghiosis, the Italian Commedia, the German Kasperl and Hans Wurst, the French Guignol and Ombres Chinoises, the English Punch (in his native setting) and more. Even Mr. Li Tien Lu contributed to our search for new knowledge by teaching several Americans the early skills of a Taiwanese hand puppeteer. From this research we gained a deeper understanding and a high degree of respect for the art of puppetry as it is presented in its own cultural setting. We also looked beyond the puppet arts for other means of expression for the puppet theatre: the European art movements of the early 20th century; ancient Greek and Roman theatre; ballet, modern, cultural, ceremonial and tribal dance; literature; and ritual. We recognized puppetry as a cross-roads through which many different ideas can move, meet and interact. The choices available to the contemporary American puppeteer broadened exponentially.

 Henson helped to introduce us to the world. Working with other "nourishers" (Nancy Staub, Vincent Anthony, Allelu Kurten and Peter Zapletal), the 1980 World Festival of UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette) was hosted in Washington D.C. The National Festival of The Puppeteers of America was held in conjunction with the world event. For the first time American puppeteers, in large numbers, were brought face to face with our international fellow artists. We were inspired by many of the world's great puppet artists: Albrecht Roser of Germany, Phillipe Genty of France, Sergei Obraztsov of Russia, Richard Bradshaw of Australia, Henk Boerwinkel of the Netherlands and Teatr Drak of Czechoslovakia, among them. We also presented some of our own world-class artists including Bruce Schwartz, Julie Taymor and the Bread and Puppet Company. The influence of this event is felt even today.

 The late 1970s saw another thrust that caused exponential growth and development in the Puppet Arts. In the film industry we came to know creators who were not puppeteers, but who used the potentials of the puppet for their own expression. I am referring here to great directors like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, among many others. (This is not intended to ignore earlier puppet film animators like George Pal and his Puppetoons and  Willis O'Brien's King Kong or others.) Lucas' and Spielberg's projects demanded new expertise and created many opportunities for puppet innovators, designers, builders and performers. The first Star Wars movie introduced a rush of technological advancements that continue to grow each time a new film is introduced. A few years ago when I saw the computer generated creatures in Jurassic Park, I thought that I had witnessed the beginning of the end of puppetry. But when I attended a seminar by Steve Williams, who was project director for the movie at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), I learned differently. First, the dinosaurs were sculpted as maquettes (scale models). They were then laser scanned, three-dimensionally into the computers. Transmitters were attached at critical movement points of the maquette and it was manipulated by puppeteers so that a reference receiver could read the relationships of the transmitters. All of this information went into the computers. Then Williams had his computer operators take puppetry and mime classes, so they would better understand the movement potentials in consideration of the weight, volume and density of the creatures. They needed puppeteers as designers, sculptors, manipulators and teachers in order to create the remarkable image, life and movement of the dinosaurs. Rather than witnessing the end of puppetry, we were seeing the further growth and application of the form.  There has been a major influence of this technology on television and live stage puppets in terms of materials and methods, which cannot be denied for its effect. Granted the multi-million dollar budgets are not available. But performance possibilities and the opportunity for new thinking are. There has also been a reactionary effect by artists and audiences which has strengthened simpler (not lesser) forms of expression.

 It would be impossible to list here all of the artists who are working in the field today who deserve recognition for their unique and quality work. There are so many individual expressions to mention: Janie Geiser comes to puppetry from graphic arts and has involved a love of film in her work; Roman Paska takes an esoteric approach, incorporating his literary and philosophical prowess to create theatre of a profound nature; Paul Zaloom drew upon his many years of experience working with the Bread and Puppet Company to develop Object Theatre presentations that have social and political bite; Ralph Lee celebrates the human experience with puppets and masks that range in size from tiny to giant. There are many, many more who deserve recognition and who you should know.

 I would like to briefly mention three artists whose work I admire and who, I believe, have had a major effect on contemporary  American Puppetry:

 Eric Bass is originally from New York City. He is of Jewish heritage. His early expressions in puppetry were not very remarkable. They were simple, entertaining shows based on folk lore and fairy tales.  20 years ago he decided to "confront his past". He moved to Germany where, in recent memory, his and all Jewish families suffered tremendous sorrow. He experienced the past and present culture and came to know the German people. While in Germany he practiced and developed his knowledge and puppetry skills, befriending many professional artists.

 As a creator, Eric Bass grew. Through puppetry he explored his own heritage. He found ways to tell personal stories that have broad, universal acceptance among his audiences. More recently he has started to tell stories about Vermont, the place in which he now lives. Again, he has found a way to make the stories interesting to audiences throughout the U.S. and Europe, where the shows have toured extensively. As I look back at his career, I realize that this has always been one of his true gifts – the ability to tell a story. Whether it is a story about cultures in collision or about a simple shoemaker finishing his last pair of shoes before Death takes him, Eric Bass has the ability to gather and hold his audience in the palm of his hand.
 Larry Reed is from San Francisco. Although trained as an actor and dancer, he furthered his studies and became a cinematographer. He was commissioned to produce a docudrama about a Balinese shadow master. While making the film he fell in love with Bali, the people and the Wayang Kulit. He remained in Bali and studied to be a dalang. Through him, American audiences have come to have a true sense of Balinese Wayang. He performs traditional Balinese stories in the traditional manner. Like in Bali the gods and man-heroes speak in the high Balinese language of Kawi (which only priests and scholars understand) and the lower characters speak in the local language - which for an American audience is English.

For almost ten years, Larry Reed has been experimenting by mixing together his mastery of shadow theatre with his abilities in dance, theatre and film. He has created a unique form of shadow mask whereby a human performer can be actively engaged as a shadow character in the composition and enactment of the screen imagery. He has discovered light sources that produce crisp, rich images from any distance relationship with the screen and has developed these sources into hand-held instruments, bringing a cinematic quality to his more recent work. Larry Reed has also taken the Shadow Theatre to a full stage venue. Aside from his own work he has also collaborated with operas, symphonies and theaters across America. Through Larry Reed's creativity and influence the American Shadow Theatre has become rich and exciting.

 Julie Taymor, like Larry Reed and Eric Bass, has extensive training in theatre and has spent an extended time outside of the U.S. assimilating other cultures and developing her voice. Her work includes stories that she has developed herself, the retelling of classical theatre from Goldoni to Shakespeare, opera, television production and film production. Although her reative expression has always involved puppetry, Julie Taymor does not proclaim to be a puppet artist. She considers herself a theatre artist. Puppetry is part of her creative palette. Included on that palette is dance, music, human performance, film and virtually any expressive element from any source which she deems appropriate.

 I thoroughly agree with Julie Taymor's vision to creative expression. I believe that today her broad approach represents the best of American Theatre, at large. For almost 30 years the American stage has been dominated by plays which I refer to as "kitchen table reality" - a family, sitting around a kitchen table talking about their problems. It can be a nuclear family, a homosexual family, or a family of thieves. Whatever the bonding force is that identifies them as a family, they remain in one place and discuss their problems. In recent years we have started to see the incorporation of masks and puppets on the American stage - elements that take the play beyond the mundanity of every day life, heightening it and exalting it.

Julie Taymor has been a leader in this new direction for the American Theatre. A direction which I believe is extremely healthy and expressive. Most recently, she has worked with the Disney Corporation to mount their Broadway Musical of The Lion King. She was given a free hand to recreate the story originally told in animation. She incorporated mask and puppet forms from around the world with clever theatrical presentation, music, dance and visual imagery. The result is a spectacular production which has performed to sell-out audiences for a year and a half. Many awards of recognition, including five coveted Tony Awards have been bestowed. The production has also brought a dynamic, fresh recognition for the Puppet Arts, which is causing positive self-examination by professional artists and, of course, by myself for the training program I direct. (Dance is such an intricate element of The Lion King, that I am shifting from making movement and dance classes an encouragement, to requiring them.)

 Here at the end of the 20th Century it is interesting to think about what the Puppet Arts are in the United States today. When you look at the breadth of American puppetry you see a great variety of forms serving many different purposes, being presented in a variety of media. There are venues for puppetry in film, on television, on the live stage, in the classroom and in the street. The practitioners come from graphic and sculptural arts, dance, music, theatre, film, education and therapy with skill levels that run from high art to low amateurism.The puppets can be characters living in a world of their own, a symbolic world or intermingling comfortably with humans. They can be representational or presentational, or even be involved as a special effect. They can be "real" or computer generated. The puppet forms vary almost as much as the artists who create them.

 I started this essay by saying that, "There are no traditions in the Puppet Theatre of the United States". I need to change that statement because I now see that there is a U.S. Puppet Arts tradition - it is a tradition of diversity and individual expression. Be it comedy or tragedy, entertainment or drama, poetic or ribald, simple or symbolic, meaningful or meaningless - the American Puppet Arts are presented by individuals working within the free ability to express themselves.

RESOURCES:
Blumenthal, E., Taymor, J., JULIE TAYMOR - PLAYING WITH FIRE, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., NY, 1995.
Davis, S. SAY KIDS! WHAT TIME IS IT?, Little, Brown and Company, Boston. 1987
Finch, C. JIM HENSON - THE WORKS, Random House, NY. 1993.
Hunt, T., TONY SARG., Charlemagne Press, North Vancouver, Canada. 1988.
King, J.C.H., PORTRAIT MASKS, Blacker, Calman, Cooper Ltd., London. 1979.
McPharlin. P., THE PUPPET THEATRE IN AMERICA, Plays, Inc., Boston. 1949, 1969.

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